1 March 2007 | vchimpanzee
Not just a bad horror movie
In 1906, Sam Jackson's father opened Ocean View Amusement Park in Norfolk, Va. Years later, Sam can no longer afford to run it himself and he has had to sell out to a corporation that intends to use the park as a centerpiece for its Paradise City development. Sam, a widower with three children, is in charge for the most part, but the corporation (represented by Tom Flood) has the final say.
Shortly before the big July 4 celebration, a hurricane is headed for Norfolk. Will the park survive? That's not really the most important question. Although the park appears to be in good shape, it is apparently possessed. Weird things are happening.
Sheila Brady, whose husband Phil works at the park (though he doesn't exactly have an amusement park personality), is having nightmares and visions of the park being destroyed in a series of explosions. No one listens to her because she is just a crazy pregnant woman. Or so her husband believes. And a thorough inspection shows the park to be in perfect shape--though we keep seeing a close-up of the one problem no one knows about that could cause Sheila's visions to become a reality. Sheila does seek the advice of a professional knowledgeable in these matters.
Billy is a U. S. Navy sailor who wants to lose his virginity. Jenny is the cotton candy girl at the park who wishes she were pretty like her sister. Paula is a former park employee who does weather research for the U. S. Navy.
This was not just a bad horror movie, though this theme kept coming up. The romances made the movie somewhat more pleasant and even provided comedy. The anticipation of a possible disaster added suspense, though the park's "demon" gave the movie a little more edge and suggested it could be scary. If you like the classic horror movies, though, don't get your hopes up.
Not all the acting was bad, though considering the cast, I would have expected much better. Mel Stewart gave one of the best performances as a park employee, mainly because his character thought most of the white people were racist, and he occasionally provided comedy relief by acting like he was the slave obeying Massa. A woman essentially playing Susan Sarandon's "Bull Durham" role, whose name I didn't catch, also impressed. The university researcher who examined Sheila was convincing enough. Diana Canova as Sheila, on the other hand--if she was trying to come across as a bad actress, she succeeded. I was actually hoping this woman would never act again. But I have heard of her. So maybe, just maybe, she was going overboard on purpose.
The climactic event was quite well done, and those who know the park's true story would understand why. I guess it was a pleasure to watch, except when one considers the obvious reasons why it wouldn't be. After all, some major characters could have been seriously hurt or worse.
This was actually okay.